Centerville seeking state funds for proposed Cornerstone park

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Centerville seeking state funds for proposed Cornerstone park

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Centerville is seeking $1 million in state grant money to buy land from a developer in order to pay for improvements at a community park which is located in the Cornerstone of Centerville development near off of Wilmington Pike.

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The 20-acre park has been discussed for years as a key part of Cornerstone of Centerville, complementing the ongoing development of restaurants, retail, hotel and apartments near Interstate 675..

To qualify for Clean Ohio funds, a government has to own the property its seeking to make improvements to. A decision is expected from the Ohio Public Works Commission on June 13.

As it stands, the park land is owned by Oberer Realty, but if the city gets the grant, they will use the money to pay the developer to acquire the park land and then make improvements.

However, the city and Oberer have disagreed in the past about how to fund the park and its maintenance.

The property where Cornerstone sits was annexed from Sugarcreek Twp. to Centerville in 2006, but remains part of Greene County.

City Manager Wayne Davis said the park would bring a new recreation option in the city, where there isn’t much similar for amenities.

“We would like it to be a central amenity for job growth and more economic development to a critical project,” Davis said.

He told council this week that with the June 13 date looming, OPWC Director Linda Bailiff was invited to take a tour of the land and review the city’s application, adding that several recommendations were made to help upgrade the city’s chances at receiving funding.

Bailiff said that the project is “unusual and atypical,” of what is usually proposed by communities for funding, but it does qualify.

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The Clean Ohio Fund restores, protects, and connects Ohio’s natural and urban places by preserving green space and farmland, improving outdoor recreation, and cleaning up brownfields to encourage redevelopment and revitalize communities.

This program is dedicated to environmental conservation including acquisition of green space and the protection and enhancement of river and stream corridors. Grant recipients agree to maintain the properties in perpetuity, according to Bailiff.

“I advised the city to revamp its application and remove its request to clean-up two water features (ponds) in the park area,” she said. “We are not going to protect retention ponds. I said carve that out of the application.”

The price tag on the project, to acquire the property is $1,472,108. The city will pay the other $472,108 to purchase the land.

The city says in its application that the design of maintaining the park is devoted to passive areas, including a walking path to provide connections to the hotel and multi-family and age restricted developments.

In its updated application submitted after tweaking, the city states that the development of the park will preserve a head-water stream and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors provide a green space preservation area connect residents and visitors to a natural outdoor environment, as well as, help with retaining and attracting businesses.

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